Among the odd creatures found cooling their heels on the slopes of Cook’s dead caldera were two Dumbo octopuses, rare color-changing creatures that look like a bit like those iconic space whales of hippie lore. In the video above, one of these friendly aliens appears to be shedding its skin. The team also spotted the Pacific sleeper shark, a reclusive underwater giant that can grow up to 20 feet in length, and the purple chimaera, a “living fossil” that’s been haunting the deep ocean for hundreds of millions of years.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Finally, the crew managed to pluck a sample of a vibrant, deep sea coral that might be a new species.

Expeditions like this are a reminder that just because the deep ocean is far removed from our everyday experience, doesn’t mean it’s a lifeless wasteland. In fact, the more we learn about the strange biology of the abyssal world, the clearer it becomes that this is a unique part of our biosphere, as deserving of protection as any other.

Advertisement

[Associated Press]